“Each year, around the latter part of winter, Lent arrives. It nearly always surprises me. Here it is, once again, summoning me to change how I typically live.” ~ W. David O. Taylor
There are some feelings that I think most people share in common no matter where they live. The first one would be looking in the rearview mirror and seeing the flashing lights of a police car. Most people immediately become stressed and maybe even panic. They wonder what they did wrong or even if it is for them. Relief washes over if the police car passes and continues down the road.
Another feeling that many people share, I believe, is when they receive a summons in the mail. There have been several times that I have received that official government envelope with a summons to jury duty.
I immediately cringe as I open the envelope. I wonder what dates will be affected and I begin to worry about coverage at the parish. As much as I feel it is important to do my civic duty, I have always been relieved when I got the phone call the day before that a settlement was made out of court and that my duty was dispensed.
Taylor reminds us that Lent is an annual summons as well. Many of us may cringe as it comes around knowing that we are going to be asked to do some things that are extremely uncomfortable. That is, we are going to be asked to take a good, hard, honest look at our lives and determine the ways that we have veered off the path so that we can set ourselves aright again.
We can ignore this annual summons but it will come with a price. If we do not take the summons of Lent seriously, we will not avail ourselves of the many graces that are available to us. We will not change and, therefore, not increase in holiness.
I think it all depends upon how we view our summons. Do we see it as an unnecessary burden? Do we see it as an intrusion? Do we see it as something that is appropriate for others but not ourselves? All I can say is that if we do view it that way, we’re already way off course.
We are well on our way through this holy season of Lent. In a couple of weeks, we will be celebrating Easter. Will Easter arrive to find us unchanged and unprepared? I pray that is not the case.
I have said it many times throughout my years as a priest and I say it to you again today: it is never too late. If you have dropped your Lenten resolve, pick it up and begin again. It will make all the difference in the world on Easter Sunday.
FAITH ACTION: Accept the Lord’s invitation to change your life to become more like Him.